GCSE and A level reforms | Pearson qualifications

GCSE and A level reforms: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

21 July 2014

Separate qualification reviews in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have resulted in the adoption of different approaches.

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In England, all current GCSEs must be delivered in a linear way and all assessments are to be taken at the end of the course. The November window is restricted to Maths and English resits only, and if candidates wish to improve their grade they will need to resit the whole qualification, not an individual unit.


Wales has opted to retain a modular approach at GCSE, AS and A level, with the option of resitting individual units to improve the overall grade.

Northern Ireland

Schools in Northern Ireland are free to choose either modular or linear courses.

We now only offer GCSEs, AS and A levels that follow the requirements for English centres. Therefore, candidates who sit part of the assessment early will be unable to use that mark as part of their overall grade.

As we develop new specifications, these will meet Ofqual requirements for English centres and will be fully linear. We will not be developing new specifications that meet the GCSE and GCE AS and A level Qualification Principles for Wales.


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